Over the last 20 years or so, in global pedagogy acquiring skills is considered the ultimate goal of learning. And rightly so. What is the use of knowledge, information, definitions, specialised terminology if not to help develop general and specific skills? It is common sense. This shift of attention from “knowledge” to “learn to do” to “learn to be” completely transformed different educational systems, even the Romanian system, with all its awkwardness and inconsistencies.
It is also a fact that insinuated itself gradually, despicably, unobserved and not only into the highly competitive world of Romanian education but also in larger American, English, even Nordic communities and became the (unwritten) rule of the game for the evaluation process in schools, ranking graduates only by results. In theory, we are referring to the pedagogy of happiness, learning by discovery, the pleasure to come and stay in school. In practice, we construct and deconstruct rankings for performant schools, prestigious universities, maybe even for nursery schools that promise Harvard candidates and have waiting lists composed before the future students were even planned to be born. We live in a paradox, are we not?
Avenor College has been making its way in this paradoxical world for 10 years. Because we really believe and put into practice a system of learning directed towards competencies, learning with joy and love, enquiry and discovery are considered essential steps in shaping future adults. However, since our first grade 8 students graduated and many families started to aspire to Avenor for any type of class, the situation of the results comes up quite often in the conversations that are part of the admission process: “We have been following you. You are always in the top 10 schools in Bucharest. We care about our child’s happiness, but it is no secret that we are also interested in the results at the end of this cycle of continuous happiness”.
I think it is a very honest point of view, without any type of hypocrisy. The situation is not limited to strictly monitoring the results of our students at the National Evaluation exams but involves also monitoring every year the scores for the Cambridge Checkpoint exams, mandatory for the admission at Avenor International High School.
Skills or test scores? This year, all of our Grade eight graduates have achieved exceptional results either at the Cambridge Checkpoint exam – 5.8 at Maths and 5.9 at English on a scale of maximum 6.0 points – or at the National Evaluation: 10 in Romanian, 9.85 in Mathematics. Skills, therefore results!